DAY 1 – Arrival
Arrival to Istanbul and meeting with our cheerful representative/guide who will be waiting for you with a sign that your name written.You are going to be transferred to your hotel.
DAY 2 –Full Day Istanbul Tour ; Time to experience as much as possible in the magical city Istanbul !
After having your breakfast at the hotel, you are going to be meeting with your guide at the reception and then your unforgatble day in Istanbul starts !
Istanbul is the only city in the world that situated on two continents: Asia and Europe divided by Bosphorus Strait. Istanbul, capital city of three successive empires such as Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires with over 2,000 years of history as its location being on crossroads of Europe and Asia…
So in Istanbul you may feel the great mixture of oriental life and European life nested togather with different cultures all around you. Enjoy the harmony of those cultures, people and listen to the sound in Istanbul calling you…
The Hippodrome of Constantinople was being used as a square for chariot races, athletic competitions and rebellions in Byzantium Era. After, in the Ottoman Period it was used for executions as well. Nowadays, it’s known as the heart of Sultanahmet where you see the four impressive monuments located; the GERMAN FOUNTAIN OF WILHELM II, the OBELISK OF THEDOSIUS, the bronze SERPENTINE COLUMN and the COLUMN OF CONSTANTINE and also most of the important sites are located around this area that makes your day easy as well..
Hagia Sophia will be your first visit..This mystrerious place used to be a church built by emperor Justinian then converted into a mosque and today as a museum attracts a lot of attention by all the visitors..did you know that Hagia Sophia also mentions in the novel of Dan Brown called Inferno?
You are going to have a bit taste of both the Christian and Islamic effects at this ipmressive atmosphere…
Underground Cistern is one of the most spectacular places to visit in Istanbul. Even once you enter, which was built by Justinian Iin the 6 C AD to be used as a reservoir for water storage.This cistern is an underground chamber of 138 x 64.6 metres. The large space is broken up by a forest of 336 marble columns, which are aesthetically supported by strong columns and arches.
The citizens who settled in the vicinity were provided with their daily water requirements from the large round well-like holes opening from the ceiling structure.
In between 1985-1988 dirty water and tons of mud were removed and a promenade platform was built in the cistern. After the cleaning process was completed, the two Medusa heads, masterpieces of the First Age Art of Statuary were used as pedestals at the bottom of the two columns in the northwest corner of the cistern. It is not known exactly when or for what purpose the antique Medusa and Gorgon heads were brought to the Basilica Cistern, something not to miss inside !
The Blue Mosque (Called Sultanahmet Camii in Turkish) comes after visiting the underground cistern. This imperial mosque is an example of classical Turkish architecture, and it is the only mosque that was originally built with six minarets. The architect was a student of Sinan, the greatest architect of classical Turkish architecture. He applied a plan used previously by his master, but on a larger scale. It started to be built in 1609 and was finished in 1616 during the rule of Sultan Ahmed I and with a very good condition still an active mosque by the prayers.
The name “Blue” actually comes from the exquisite tiles that are over than 20,000 located inside the mosque. The areas above the tiles and the inside of the domes are decorated with paintwork.Tiles are such a kind of jewelery on the walls of interior design, which are called Iznik (historic Nicaea) tiles. A special quality of ceramic tiles and pottery produced in Iznik during the 15 and 16th centuries. These exquisite tiles and pottery represent the cultural and artistic zenith of the Ottoman Empire. The examples of these tiles and pottery are part of the best collections of museums in Turkey and all around the world.
Topkapı Palace is the subject of more colourful stories making you feel the Ottoman life in the palace and most probably could be the highlight of your day that comes as your next stop. Topkapi is the largest and oldest palace in the world to survive to our day. In 1924 it was turned into a museum by Ataturk’s request. Situated on the acropolis, the site of the first settlement in Istanbul, it commands an impressive view of the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara. The palace is a complex surrounded by 5 km of walls and occupies an area of 700,000 sq. m at the tip of the historical peninsula.
Following the conquest of the city in 1453, the young Sultan Mehmet moved the capital of the empire to Istanbul, His first palace was located in the middle of the town. The second palace, which he built in the 1470’s, was initially called the New Palace, but in recent times it came to be known as the Topkapi Palace. Topkapı is a classical example of Turkish palace architecture. It consists of tree- shaded courtyards, each serving a different purpose and opening onto one another with monumental gates. The courtyards are surrounded by functional buildings. From the time of its construction, the palace developed constantly with alterations and additions made by each sultan.
Just imagine and enjoy the palace life with the explanations of your guide that make you feel like living in a palace for a while…
Grand Bazaar,time for shopping for a while in one of the best shopping malls ever ! The world famous covered bazaar “The Grand Bazaar” (Kapalıçarsı) is, owing to its architecture, history, location, and sheer variety of merchandise, one of İstanbul’s most significant tourist sites. The Bazaar has eight different entrances, each of them facing one of the city’s most important historic monuments and there are more than 5000 shops located whether it be jewelers,antiques,carpets,copper or leather goods.. Built at the command of Sultan Mehmed the, Conqueror in 1461, the Bazaar initially consisted of just two warehouses (bedesten). In time, merchants began to set up their own stalls and workshops in the surrounding area. Dignitaries furthered the expansion with the addition of numerous caravanserais, so that soon the place had become a focus for trading goods from all over the empire.
You can find anything that you look for, even for yourselves even for your friends and relatives who waits some gifts from Turkey..! An important tip for you ; “do not forget to bargain !”. Part of the Turkish culture is “negotiation” which are not always very big amounts that we talk for discount but still remember that you are in the big city and Grand Bazaar is a tourist attraction more…
After the visit of Grand Bazaar,coming the end of an unforgatble day so you are going to be transferred back to your hotel for another overnight.
DAY 3 – Bosphorus Cruise & Dolmabahce Palace Tour
After having your breakfast at the hotel, you are going to be meeting with your guide at the reception and then your day in Istanbul starts !
Spice Market, still in use as one of the world’s largest spice bazaars since 1665. It gains its Turkish name, Mısır Çarşısı (Egyptian Bazaar), from the fact that it once received income from taxes levied on Egypt. The English name hails from the days when the Bazaar specialized in the sale of herbs and spices, medicinal plants, and drugs. Nowadays it hosts 85 shops in the market.
Bosphorus cruise comes next, we will board the ferries across the Bosphorus which will take us to both European and Asian sides of the city. This beautiful voyage will take you along the shores of Bosphorus and you will see the Rumeli Fortress from the 15th century as well as the seaside summer palaces and unique wooden houses of the area, as well as the natural beauty of the forests above. The last stop on the cruise is the fishing village of Sariyer, close to the Black Sea. From there on we will drive you by coach via the world’s only Intercontinental Bridge BosphorusBridge to take you to “Camlica Hill” on the Asian side.
Camlica Hill, on the Asian shores of the Bosphorus there lies a high pine covered hill which is also the highest in Istanbul where you will enjoy breathtaking views of Istanbul.
Dolmabahce Palace comes as the last visit for the day which is located along the coast of the Bosphorus in Besiktas. It was constructed for Sultan Abdülmecid (1839-61) who, preferring a more modern residence, decided to move out of the Topkapi Palace. The construction of this sumptuous palace was finished in 1853, and the royal family abandoned the imperial residence of Topkapi which had served as a home for the Ottoman household for almost four centuries. Dolmabahçe was the imperial residence of all subsequent Ottoman Sultans, with the exception of Abdülhamid II (1876-1909) who preferred living in the more secluded Yıldız Palace. An apartment within it served as Atatürk’s residence in Istanbul and he died there during his last visit to Istanbul on 10 November 1938.
The palaces sumptuous interior was decorated by the famous French decorator Sechan and is reminiscent of French palaces and villas. Among the riches and opulent furnishings found here are paintings done by well-known European artists commissioned by Ottoman sultans (such as Boulanger, Ayvazovski, and Gerome), hereke carpets, Baccarat crystal and Bohemian glass chandeliers, including ilie world’s largest chandelier which hangs in the State room.
After your final day in Istanbul ended, you will be transferred your hotel.
Day 4- Prince Islands Tour
After having your breakfast at the hotel, you are going to be meeting with your guide at the reception.
The group of nine islands in the Sea of Marmara is known as the Princes’ Islands, Buyukada (Big Island), and is only an hour away from the city.
Princess’ Islands which served as a place of exile for disgraced princes in days gone by. Today it is a quiet sea front town and summer holiday escape from the city.
Leaving the Golden Horn you will round Sarayburnu (Seraglio Point), the headland on which the domes and minarets of Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque can be seen.
Upon arrival to the island, you will see the lavish Ottoman mansions and other beautiful Victorian summer villas around the island by horse-drawn carriage tour – one of the islands only means of transport, for motor-vehicles are strictly prohibited. There are colorful fruit trees, beautiful gardens, wooded areas and exotic flowers to be seen everywhere.
It is going to be a perfect day for relaxing and enjoying one of Istanbul’s residents’ favorite summer retreats. Return by motor-boat and and transfer back to hotel. Overnight in Istanbul.
After you have your breakfast, you are going to be transferred to the airport for your flight and ending our services as saying goodbye to our guests with unforgetable memories and with the wishes to welcome them back again…
- Hagia Sophia is closed on Mondays, could be replaced with Chora Museum.
- Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays, could be replaced with Archaeological Museum.
- Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays.